Racial Identity Development : Beverly Tatum 's Most Popular Works

857 Words Sep 28th, 2015 4 Pages
Preston Nielsen
Professor Thompson
ENGL 1301.503
22 September 2015

Racial Identity Development
One of Beverly Tatum’s most popular works, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, outlines racial identity development and shows us what it means to be Black in today’s society. Tatum uses reasonable examples of her experience both as a parent and as a college professor. She is able to get readers to think in ways that might not be comfortable but are necessary and compelling. Recognizing understanding and embracing It usually starts with an event or an encounter that causes the child to become aware of their ethnicity and what it means for them. This encounter causes most to examine their racial identification and how their future will be affected. Tatum uses her ten-year-old son as an example. If he were to describe himself, he would talk about the things he likes to do and the fact that he is tall for his age. He would probably say this because when he tells people his age they tell him he is tall for his age. He knows he’s tall because that’s what everyone tells him. Likewise, he knows he’s Black because people are telling him so, just not directly. Tatum explains by asking if her son were to walk down the street whether or not women hold their purses tighter, or if people try to avoid him, or if security watches him more closely. Maybe people automatically assume he plays basketball. This all sends a racial message.
These powerful messages impact the…
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